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Council argues over timed stall north of Square
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MONROE - The Monroe Common Council found a familiar topic to discuss during a meeting Wednesday in the City Hall Annex downtown: parking.

Specifically, timed parking. Talks surrounded one particular spot in the 800 block of 17th Avenue in Monroe. American Family Insurance Agent Tim F. Young approached Monroe Police Chief Fred Kelley with a request to make two parking spaces along 17th Avenue 15-minute spots.

The business owner made his case to members of the Public Safety Committee during a meeting March 19.

Young and Kris Young, his wife and fellow insurance agent, said there were people who parked in front of the red building for hours at a time. Kris noted "the biggest issue is they park in front of our business to go downtown for hours at a time," and that elderly customers who want to make quick visits have to park in a way that causes them to cross the street or walk nearly a block to get to the building.

The Youngs said they approached the city after an initial request in late 2017 when they saw the four 15-minute timed parking signs around the Square, one on each side installed by council members to aid the turnover of parked vehicles in the business area.

Kelley noted there had been meters in three spots on the street a number of years ago, which is why painted lines still exist there.

Alderman Tom Miller, a member of the Public Safety Committee, said he did not see how the two were related and was against the implementation at the request to benefit one business. He noted the timed stalls around the Square were beneficial to a number of businesses, not just one.

Council member Chris Beer, who also serves on the committee, pointed to the Youngs' comments that Studio 906, a nearby salon, would also be affected by the change.

"There's obviously a need, we've done it for other places," Beer said. "I can't see a problem with it. We've already set the precedent."

Fellow committee member Brooke Bauman noted her hesitation at the March meeting to install the downtown timed enforcement because it was "opening a can of worms," similar language to what Miller used during discussion at the council proceeding Wednesday. The committee agreed 3-1 to approve one 15-minute stall, which was still contested by Miller during discussion by full council.

"We are going to be opening up a can of worms if we do this," Miller said.

Bauman and Beer echoed their earlier assertions about following the precedent set, joined by Alderman Ron Marsh. Alderman Charles Koch and Miller voted against the timed stall. Fellow council members Richard Thoman, Rob Schilt, Marsh, Bauman and Beer approved it. Michael Boyce and Jeff Newcomer were absent.